Terror Lake hydroelectric project expansion gets the go-ahead

KEA proposed diversion. (Courtesy of KEA)

The Kodiak Electric Association received a permit to start its Terror Lake Hydroelectric Project expansion, which would increase the lake’s clean energy production.

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Part of the project includes construction through federal land, which requires a lengthy permitting process with some steps KEA called “duplicative.”

It had started on a legislative path to try to speed up that process, but KEA President and CEO Darron Scott said an agreement between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reached the same goal.

“We actually a while back started the process with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and they worked together with FERC to kind of come together on some of the process as well, some of the permitting process, to kinda streamline the time on that, and with all that, we recently got our right of way permit with U.S. Fish and Wildlife,” Scott said.

According to legislative documents, FERC and Fish & Wildlife entered a Memorandum of Understanding for FERC to take the lead on that permitting process and avoid duplication.

KEA plans to divert two streams in the Upper Hidden Basin into the reservoir through a 1.2-mile tunnel under Kodiak Island National Wildlife Refuge land.

Scott said the expansion would help meet Kodiak’s growing population and energy needs.

“This gives Terror Lake about 25 percent more energy than it had before, so this should provide us [with] several years for load growth as we see electrical loads growing in the town, and it’s renewable and keeps us in that renewable, near-100 percent renewable portfolio that we have, which has been incredibly successful for our town,” Scott said.

Scott said KEA will put the project out to bid in the fall and line up contracts in the winter. He said construction should start next summer, and they hope to complete the project in two years, but it could easily take three.

Kayla Deroches is a reporter at KMXT in Kodiak.

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